Posts Tagged ‘Filipino Sign Language Act’

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Senate Bill Pushes to Recognize Filipino Sign Language as the National Sign Language

May 25, 2017

Senator Nancy Binay has filed SB1455, the Filipino Sign Language Act, to recognize Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Philippines. The bill includes comprehensive provisions on the use of the unique visual language of the Filipino Deaf community in access to health, employment, justice, broadcast media, and culture and the arts. It supplements landmark legislation already recognizing FSL in education through R.A. 10533 (K-12 law) and R.A. 10410 (Early Years Act) in 2013. The Mother Tongue Based – Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) policy of the DepEd would implement FSL as the mother language of deaf learners, and the development of literacy in second/ third languages.

fsl-banner2The Philippine Federation of the Deaf, the national umbrella organization of over 55 Deaf member organizations has advocated for the national recognition of FSL for over two decades. It led the Deaf community in a rally in 2011 to lobby for FSL legislation. In the 16th Congress, the House of Representatives passed on 3rd Reading HB6428, the Filipino Sign Language Act. It is refiled currently by Rep. Antonio Tinio as HB2094.

Though historically influenced by American Sign Language, research by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf and the Philippine Deaf Resource Center have established FSL as a true and linguistically distinct language. Evidence of signing in the Philippines is documented in Leyte since the 1590s, over three centuries before the entry of American Sign Language in the Philippines.

The Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino supports legislation that shall promote the Filipino Deaf identity. Senator Binay sees the recognition of Filipino Sign Language as ensuring that deaf Filipinos enjoy their human, legal, linguistic and cultural rights.

Contact persons:
Carolyn Dagani, President, Philippine Federation of the Deaf
Mobile 0995.9964191 (text only); FB: PFDeaf
Liza Martinez, PhD, PDRC /Deaf Resources Philippines
Tel 9941441; email: deafresourcesphilippines@mail.com

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